It's Not the Story of Others, It's the Story of Humanity - Hajra Saeed

Teaching in a culturally responsive manner helps students understand that they are part of the connective thread in the fabric of history. When we understand our students’ own stories, we can help them apply historical thinking skills with greater ease and empower them to shape the future.

  • I thought this activity was extremely valuable. I especially liked how the historical content she taught depended on where the students' artifacts took the inquiry. That appears to me to be essence of student-centered education! #MCHE

  • Having met and worked with Hajra, I had high expectations for the talk, and, not surprisingly, she exceeded my expectations.  "It's Not the Story, It's the Story of Humanity" taps into several key features for successful instruction.  One target we have is for students to become proficient with the claims testing vocabulary.  The use of "mysterious objects" allows the students to apply the target vocabulary to build a story for each object.  The idea of a "mystery" also heightens the students' interests and curiosity.  The invitation for students to bring their own objects and share stories honors the identify and choices of individual student.  After sharing, the opportunity for students to make observations about the collected works is important.  I find occasions for students to take their individual work, then display it as a type of "gallery walk" in the hall, then I ask students to make observations (What does the data show?  What observations can you make?  How does the work some change or continuity over time?  How do you compare or contrast data?  among other questions).  It is important for students to gather the collective data, then even ask them to formulate an argument statement that reflects the data.  With her experience and knowledge of content, Hajra is in a great position to weave this material into other target lessons, such as the exploration of rights and revolutions that she is expected to cover.  Using the familiar as a springboard into the unfamiliar is a great dynamic for instruction; additionally, the students will recognize personal family experience or connections to the overwise abstract targets.  #MCHE

  • Early in the video, Hajra Saeed notes that the history of "others" is often presented as a history of degradation and oppression. I realize now that this approach was vital to the overarching historical narrative I learned as a student! I love that Saeed's activity involving student objects -- rather than perpetuating stories of victimization -- provides her students with agency and connections to the common threads of humanity. I also really like the vessel activity as a method for helping students approach objects (and hopefully written sources) with greater curiosity. It's vital that students are able to test claims with relevant and probing questions.  #MCHE

  • Since I teach ELA and WH, I have a lot of lessons on making claims.  Most often, kids are finding claims in history, rather than making their own.  I need to do better with this. This vessel project is like a grown-up show and tell.  I love it. #MCHE